Basketball Sizes – A Guide to Help You Pick the Right Size

basketball sizes

Choosing the wrong size of your underwear will not fit well and provide comfort, right? Like your underwear, you will find variation in basketball sizes, and each size is suitable for a particular age and gender group.

What Does Basketball Size Mean and Does it Really Matter?

Look, when you buy and use a basketball or gift someone it is very likely that you overlook different facts about a basketball which you should not do.

Before you a basketball hoop no matter if it is portable or in-ground you tend to check reviews on them, right? Because you spend a good amount of money on them, hence you must choose the perfect product based on your need. [Check our reviews on best portable hoops and also complete reviews on best in-ground hoops if you need to do so]

Similarly, even though the price is low still you should check and learn different buying factors of a basketball and size is one of them.

Here is why.

Basketballs have different materials used for their construction, different types (e.g. indoor, outdoor) as well as different sizes.

In this article, we are going to discuss only the sizes. Before knowing the different sizes let’s learn why it is essential to consider the sizes in the first place.

Learning the Game Properly

First of all, it is about learning the game properly. Yes, if a young player who is still in learning phase uses a bigger size basketball then it is very likely he/she won’t be able to handle the weight of the ball as well as won’t be able to grip the ball properly.

As a result, there is a chance that he/she will end up developing poor shooting skills or techniques you can say.

How?

See, when a player will be using a heavier basketball or bigger size ones he/she may develop some bad habits during shooting like using both hands during shooting which is a wrong approach. Not only that, improper placement of the hand can happen; again that is a wrong approach.

Below we discussed different weights of different sized balls. The weight difference may seem a minor issue to you between two adjacent sizes but imagine what if a 9 years old boy is playing with a ball where the weight is suitable for 15 years old? Will he be able to handle it properly?

Youth Players May Lose Interest

When a youth or kid or a beginner will not be able to do things in a proper way due to the wrong selection of basketball or any gears there is a chance that they will start losing interest on the game over time.

It’s not only about gaining or losing interest. If a player practices with a bigger or smaller size ball than that of the permitted ball size of his/her league then what will happen? No doubt, he/she will be facing problems to grip, dribble, or shoot the ball during the tournament.

Chance of Injuries

To me, this is one of the main reasons why a player should pick the right size of a basketball. To avoid wrist or arm injuries it is essential to deal with the right gear during practice or competitive matches.

To get the proper bounce from the ball one should use the ball that is suitable for his/her age.

So what are the basketball sizes and their different parameters?

The size varies on the level of play, age, and gender. Here they are

Basketball Size Chart

SizeAge Level & GenderCircumferenceWeight
715+ Boys29.5”22 oz
6Boys: 12-14, Girls: 12+28.5”20 oz
5Boys: 9-11, Girls: 9-1127.5”17 oz
4Boys: 5-8, Girls: 5-825.5”14 oz
3Boys: 4-8, Girls: 4-820”10 oz
3Boys: 2-4, Girls: 2-416”8 oz

Size 7 Basketballs [Official NBA Basketball Size for Men]

The circumference of size 7 basketball is 29.5” (NBA basketball size) and weight is 22 oz. These are only for boys aging 15 or more. Size 7 is not for any girls of any age.

While 29.5” is the NBA ball size, the minimum of FIBA’s basketball size is also 29.5” and maximum 30.7”

This is official size used to play in the professional level, high-school or college level for men’s basketball.

Size 6 Basketballs [Official Women’s Basketball Size]

This time the circumference of size 6 basketball is 28.5” where the weight is 20 oz. The age limit of this balls for boys is 12-14 and for girls 12+.

This is the official women’s basketball size for their high school, college, and professional basketball.

Size 5 Basketballs [Standard Youth Basketball Size]

Size 5 basketballs have 27.5” circumference while having the weight of 17 oz. This size is applicable for the boys aging 9-11 years, and girls aging 9-11 years as well. This considered as the standard size for youth basketball (aka youth basketball size).

Size 4 Basketballs

The circumference of size 4 basketball is 25.5” and the weight is 14 oz. This is the size suitable for both boys and girls having 5-8 years of age.

Size 3 Basketballs

This is considered as the “mini” basketball perfect for kids of 4-8 years of age both boys and girls. The circumference of size 3 basketball is 22” and weight is 10 oz.

Size 1 Basketballs

Size 1 basketballs are also called as “micro-mini” basketball having the circumference of 16” and weight is 8 oz. Suitable for 2-4 years kids both boys and girls.

If you ask about the recommended air pressure of basketballs then the answer is for size 7 and size 6 balls the recommended air pressure is from 7-9 psi. I found an interesting comment at Quora on this topic. Terry Jensen, a basketball coach shared his thought and that is a practical point of view of measuring the basketball pressure.

According to Terry, almost no one has the gauge to accurately measure the PSI while inflating the ball because most of the pumps don’t give an accurate reading.

So, how can you measure the pressure alternatively?

Terry said, there is a trick that is used commonly by the referees and coaches. They hold the ball up to their face level and let it drop by free fall. The bottom of the ball should bounce up to the waistline or higher. If the ball bounces up to the chest then it indicates it is over-inflated and if it bounces below waistline then it is an indication of under-inflation.

Well, that is of course, an interesting way to measure the air pressure. But stil,l a question remains. How tall the referee or coach should be to take his waistline or chest as the measuring parameter?

We will ask this to Terry Jensen some other day.

For now know this – In FIBA play, the official rule is the inflated ball should bounce upto a height between 1200 mm and 1400 mm (measured to the top of the basketball) when it is dropped from 1800 mm (approx) height measured from the bottom of the ball.

Final Words

To learn the game properly and develop important skills like shooting, dribbling, passing while avoiding injuries at the same time it is must choosing the basketball size. We have discussed all the necessary parameters of a particular basketball size. If you are a coach or a player or someone who wants to buy a gift for a basketball player, you should keep this into your consideration before buying a basketball.

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